Introduction

The “Indicators of Resilience in Socio-ecological Production Landscapes and Seascapes (SEPLS)” is a free tool, developed through IPSI Collaborative Activities, for engaging local communities in adaptive management of the landscapes and seascapes in which they live. The set of 20 indicators aims to provide communities with a framework for discussion and analysis of socio-ecological processes essential for SEPLS resilience, through a collaborative, community-based process.

Please see below for links to the “Toolkit” publication containing the indicators and other resources, as well as further information on the development and use of the indicators in the field.
  • The Indicators

    The Indicators of Resilience in SEPLS consist of a set of 20 indicators designed to capture different aspects of key systems – ecological, agricultural, cultural and socio-economic. They include both qualitative and quantifiable indicators, but measurement is based on the observations, tallies, perceptions and experiences of the local communities themselves. They are to be used flexibly and can be customized to reflect the circumstances of each particular landscape or seascape and its associated communities.

    Please tap or click here to download a pamphlet containing the indicators and brief information about their development and use.
  • Toolkit

    A “Toolkit” publication was developed in 2014 to provide practical guidance for making use of the Indicators of Resilience in the field. The toolkit explains the conceptual background, purpose, uses and benefits of the indicators, and introduces the twenty indicators themselves, practical guidance on how to use the indicators in an assessment workshop, and examples of past use of the indicators. It is designed to allow potential users to hold an assessment workshop in their own community without instruction from outside.

    The Toolkit is freely available to any potential users. Please tap or click here to download.

Development and use of the Indicators

The first set of 20 Indicators was developed as an output of an IPSI Collaborative Activity by UNU-IAS and Bioversity International, with the understanding that local communities require a more complete understanding of the status and changes in conditions in their landscapes and seascapes in order to strengthen resilience. After field-testing in countries around the world, the indicators were then further refined and updated based on lessons learned and published in the Toolkit publication (available above) along with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The background of the indicators dates back to the beginnings of the Satoyama Initiative, particularly the finding in the “Japan Satoyama Satoumi Assessment” (JSSA) that significant changes in recent years have caused a drop in the resilience of landscapes and seascapes. For the purposes of the Indicators, “resilience” in landscapes and seascapes is considered to mean their ability to absorb or recover – in terms of both ecosystem processes and socio-economic activity – from various pressures and disturbances without lasting damage. Resilience is a product of ecological, social, cultural and economic systems, dynamically linked to each other.

With this in mind, the Indicators of Resilience consist of a set of 20 indicators designed to capture different aspects of key systems – ecological, agricultural, cultural and socio-economic. They include both qualitative and quantifiable indicators, but measurement is based on the observations, tallies, perceptions and experiences of the local communities themselves. They are to be used flexibly and can be customized to reflect the circumstances of each particular landscape or seascape and its associated communities.

The process presented in the Toolkit is a community-based resilience assessment workshop, which allows for an interactive and participatory process for community members to understand and discuss resilience. In these workshops, a representative group of landscape or seascape residents along with any other relevant stakeholders, with as broad as possible representation in order to ensure equity and diversity of voices, is invited to take part. Generally, the agenda includes: an introduction to key concepts; explanation of the purpose of the workshop; exercises such as community mapping and/or creating historical timelines; scoring of the indicators themselves; and discussion of the results of the scoring. Please see the Toolkit for more detailed information on how to hold one of these workshops.

Further reading

“Indicators of Resilience in Socio-ecological Production Landscapes (SEPLs)”: A UNU-IAS Policy Report containing the original set of 20 Indicators of Resilience and detailed information on their development.
“Assessing Landscape Resilience: Best Practices and Lessons Learned under the COMDEKS Programme”: A UNDP publication detailing the use of the Indicators in 20 landscapes around the world under the COMDEKS Programme.
“Lessons Learned from Application of the “Indicators of Resilience in  Socio-ecological Production Landscapes and Seascapes (SEPLS)” Under the Satoyama Initiative”: Chapter 6 of the book Managing Socio-ecological Production Landscapes and Seascapes for Sustainable Communities in Asia, with descriptions of use of the Indicators under a variety of programmes and initiatives.

Translations of the Indicators

(Note: The translations below were developed by different partner organizations and are made freely available as a resource to potential users. The IPSI Secretariat is not responsible for their development or upkeep, and we cannot guarantee the accuracy of their contents.)
  • Chinese (Full Toolkit) translation developed by the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, China
  • Japanese (Full Toolkit) translation developed by UNU-IAS
  • Spanish (Indicators only) translation developed by the GEF-Satoyama Project

Links

  • The COMDEKS Programme: A UNDP-implemented programme that used the Indicators for resilience assessment and adaptive landscape management in 20 landscapes around the world
  • The "GEF-Satoyama Project": A project, implemented by Conservation International, that incorporated use of the Indicators in landscape projects in key biodiversity hotspots for landscape and seascape management and knowledge generation